Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #150-141

If you think the last 350 songs have been ultra-special, you should love what Inside The Rock Era has coming up in the next 15 days.  Back-to-back, one classic after another...

Natalie Imbruglia

"Great song!"

"I really love this."

"A classic song..."


"I love this song so much."

"One of the best songs ever."

"Beautiful voice and an awesome song!"

"Great lyrics."

This song was written by Scott Cutler, Anne Preven, and Phil Tornalley and originally recorded by Lis Sørensen in 1991.  Cutler and Preven formed the alternative rock group Ednaswa and recorded their version in 1993.  Four years later, Australian Natalie Imbruglia recorded the song in Kilburn, London for her debut release Left of the Middle.  Interestingly enough, Thornalley (bass and rhythm guitars) is one of the musicians on the track. 

Imbruglia came to record the song when Thornalley worked with her as a producer.  Natalie starred on the Australian soap opera Neighbours from 1992-1994, the same one that Kylie Minogue starred in.  

Imbruglia released "Torn" as a radio only promo single October 27, 1977 in the U.K. and Australia and February 3 in the United States.

At the time, Billboard magazine did not allow songs to be included on the Singles chart unless physical copies were released.  It did reach #1 for 11 weeks on the Airplay chart, which tells us that even though the song was not available as a single at the time, it was the most-played song in the nation for 11 weeks.  Billboard in late 1998 wisely changed its methodology to allow songs such as "Torn" to be included in the Hot 100, however, by that time, "Torn" was declining in popularity and only peaked at #42. 

So for some people that only look at chart numbers from the overall chart, they may have a tough time discerning the popularity of the song.  Further investigation finds that "Torn" was #1 on the Top 40 chart for 11 weeks, and also placed at #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the U.S.  The song spent #2 for 3 weeks in the U.K., and also reached  #1 in Canada and Sweden, #2 in the Netherlands, and Switzerland, #3 in Austria, #4 in Germany, France, and Ireland, #5 in New Zealand, #6 in Norway, and #8 in Finland.

Those numbers are counterbalanced that, while "Torn" did face some excellent songs at the time, only one, "Believe" by Cher, is in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  Again we stress that competition is extremely important in ranking songs, and is the only factor that adequately allows us to compare songs across different time periods. 

Imbruglia was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards. 
"Torn" has sold over four million copies worldwide, and it ranks as the 85th biggest-selling single of all-time in the U.K.  In the United States, Imbruglia sold two million albums.  "Torn" is the most-played song in Imbruglia's native Australia since 1990, being played over 300,000 times, and it has crossed the one-million plateau in airplay in the U.S.

Michael Jackson

"One of the best songs of the '80s."
"Love it!"
"This has to be one of the greatest tracks of all-time."
"Awesome song!"
"Totally genius!"
"One of my favorite songs of all-time."

Rod Temperton, formerly of the group Heatwave ("Boogie Nights") wrote this for Michael Jackson--Temperton had also written "Rock With You" and "Off The Wall" for Michael.  He explained to the newspaper The Telegraph how he came up with "Thriller":

Originally, when I did my "Thriller" demo, I called it "Starlight". Quincy said to me, "You managed to come up with a title for the last album, see what you can do for this album."  I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles, and came up with the title "Midnight Man".  The next morning, I woke up, and I just said this word...  Something in my head just said, this is the title.  You could visualise it on the top of the Billboard charts.  You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as "Thriller".

Jackson recorded the song at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles.  Engineer Bruce Swedien told The Telegraph what it was like to work with producer Quincy Jones: 

When we started "Thriller", the first day at Westlake, we were all there and Quincy walked in followed by me and Michael and Rod Temperton and some of the other people.  Quincy turned to us and he said, "OK guys, we're here to save the recording industry."  Now that's a pretty big responsibility – but he meant it.  And that's why those albums, and especially "Thriller", sound so incredible.  The basic thing is, everybody who was involved gave 150 percent …  Quincy's like a director of a movie and I'm like a director of photography, and it's Quincy's job to cast [it].  Quincy can find the people and he gives us the inspiration to do what we do.

Actor Vincent Price, known for his work in horror films, put the final touch on this classic with his voiceovers.  Jones's wife Peggy knew Price and suggested him to her husband.  It was a part for the ages, and Price nailed it.  One of Price's lines is "Must stand and face the hounds of hell", inspired by the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The song also included sound effects of a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs.  Jackson released the single January 23, 1984 as the title song from his landmark album.

The song is only part of the story of "Thriller".  Jackson called upon John Landis, who directed the movie American Werewolf in London, to direct the music video.  The video is an extended 14 minutes, that features Jackson in an iconic scene leading other actors dressed as zombies in a choreographed dance routine.  That video became The #1 Music Video of All-Time.  It was nominated for six MTV Video Music Awards and won three--Viewer's Choice, Best Overall Performance and Best Choreoegraphy.  In 2009, the "Thriller" video was added to the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress, the first video ever selected.

"Thriller" faced competition from great songs like "Hello" and "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie, "What's Love Got To Do With It" from Tina Turner, "Jump" by Van Halen, "Uptown Girl", "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John, "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins, "Time After Time" from Cyndi Lauper, "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from Deniece Williams and "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce Springsteen.

"Thriller" set a Rock Era record by becoming the 7th Top 10 song from the album.  It peaked at #4 overall and rose to #3 on the R&B chart in the United States.  It peaked at #1 in France for four weeks and reached #3 in Canada, #6 in New Zealand, and #10 in the U.K.  When Jackson died in 2009, the song experienced a huge resurgence, going to the Top 10 again in many countries, including #1 in Spain, #3 in Australia and Switzerland, #7 in Norway, #8 in Ireland and #9 in Germany.

The song helped Jackson win Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, Producer of the Year and Best Engineered Recording, American Music Awards for Artist of the Century, Special Award of Merit, Favorite Male Vocalist--Pop/Rock, Favorite Album--Pop/Rock (for both Thriller and Number Ones), Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Album (for both Thriller and Number Ones), and the World Music Diamond Award.

"Thriller" has sold over two million singles and helped sell over 45 million albums in the U.S. alone.  It has been played over one million times.

Daydream Believer 

"What a great song!"
"Epic tune."
" it."
"Timeless classic."
"Sweet...a happy song."
"LOVE LOVE LOVE this song!"

Although the Monkees were adored by millions of teenage girls in their early years, the group wanted a broader appeal, and for starters, they wanted to play their own instruments and have more creative control over their music.  Things came to a head in 1967 when drummer Michael Nesmith went public with his criticism of Screen Gems and Don Kirshner at a news conference. 

Screen Gems gave the group more control over their product, and took Kirshner off the project.  The result is that for their third album, Headquarters, the Monkees began playing instruments, and Chip Douglas, who had produced for the Turtles, was selected as the producer for the album. 

John Stewart wrote this great song before leaving the Kingston Trio.  Douglas saw Stewart at a party and asked him if he had any material that the group could use.  Stewart offered "Daydream Believer".  RCA had a problem with the word "funky" in Stewart's song; the line went "You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed, Now you know how funky I can be." 

RCA wanted to change the word to "happy".  Stewart at first refused, failing to see how the change made any difference in the song, but eventually gave permission.  The Monkees recorded "Daydream Believer" June 9 and 14th of 1967 at RCA Victor Studios in Hollywood, California.  Jazz trumpeter and composer Shorty Rogers created the orchestral arrangement.  The Monkees released the single October 25, which was later included on the album The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees.
"Daydream Believer" fought off some great songs to get to the top:  "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding, the Beatles' "Hello Goodbye", "To Sir With Love" from Lulu, "The Letter by the Box Tops, "Never My Love" from the Association, and "Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat. 
"Daydream Believer" racked up 4 weeks at #1, with an impressive 10 in the Top 10.  #1 in Ireland, #2 in Australia and Norway, #4 in Germany, #5 in the U.K., #7 in Austria, and #10 in Switzerland.
To date, the song has sold over one million singles, helped sell four million albums, and has been played over four million times in the U.S. alone. 

Anne Murray reached #12 with a remake in 1980; Stewart also recorded his own version.

Ebony And Ivory
Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder

"I have always loved this song."
"This is greatness!"
"Super song, super duet."
"Beautiful song--love it!"

"One of the greatest songs in history."

"Another classic of classics.  Perfect is the appropriate word."

"Great song--pure talent."

One of the great pairings of all-time was when these two superstars got together to record a very important song.  Paul McCartney wrote the song after hearing Spike Milligan say "black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!"  The song is a metaphor for racial harmony using the black and white keys of a piano.

McCartney told Bryant Gumbel on NBC-TV's "Today" show:

"Ebony And Ivory" is supposed to say that people of all types could live together.  It's just an idea that I had heard, you know the keyboard thing, you can play using just the black notes, or you can play using just the white notes, but combining them gives you great notes.  I think that's a nice analogy. 

McCartney had always admired Stevie Wonder, and wanted the do a duet with him.  McCartney forwarded the tape to Stevie, who told Dick Clark:

I listened to the song and I liked it very much.  I liked what it was talking about...I felt it was positive for everyone.  It politely asks people to reflect upon life in using the terms of music...this melting pot of many different people.

Due to both artists being busy and having conflicts with work schedules, McCartney and Wonder recorded their vocals separately on the island of Montserrat.  George Martin, who became famous as the producer for the Beatles, produced this song as well.

The single was released March 29, featured on McCartney's album Tug of War.  During its chart run, "Ebony And Ivory" faced competition from "I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Journey's "Open Arms", "Eye Of The Tiger" from Survivor, "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson, "Hurts So Good" from John Cougar, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago, and "Up Where We Belong" from Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes.

The song was the longest-running #1 in Wonder's career and the longest-running #1 song for McCartney since his days with the Beatles.  "Ebony And Ivory" accumulated 7 weeks at #1 and 12 in the Top 10.  It also did extremely well on the more-important Adult Contemporary chart with five weeks at #1, and peaked at #8 on the R&B chart.  "Ebony And Ivory" also reached #1 in the U.K., Germany, Canada and Norway, #2 in Australia, Sweden and Switzerland, and #3 in Austria.

"Ebony And Ivory" went Gold and helped sell over four million albums.  A drop-off in radio airplay has caused a fall in ranking in the past several years.

For What It's Worth
Buffalo Springfield 

"One of my favorite songs of all-time."
 "Should be played at the highest volume possible."

"Still relevant now and to planet Earth."

"Great song."

"The lyrics are so deep..."

"This tune is awesome."

"Great songs never die."

"The definition of a timeless classic."

Some people mistakenly take this song as an anti-war protest song (it was pretty much adopted as such); the writer of the song was inspired by events following a curfew law.
Stephen Stills wrote this classic after witnessing a series of events while his group Buffalo Springfield was the house band at the legendary Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.  Residents and business owners in the area lobbied for strict (10 p.m.) curfew and loitering laws to reduce traffic from crowds of Rock Era fans.  The young people were upset with this development, and rather than whine and complain about their lot in life the way today's kids do, or do something even dumber, such as grab a gun and think that solves your problems (LOL!) the youth back then did something constructive--they had fliers printed inviting people to peacefully demonstrate on Saturday, November 12, 1966.
According to the newspaper The Los Angeles Times, up to 1,000 demonstrators, including actors Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda, protested against the enforcement of the recently invoked curfew laws.  Oh and by the way, the curfew laws were eventually changed. 
The title of the song appears nowhere in the lyrics; Stills said in an interview that the title came about when he gave it to Ahmet Ertegun, executive of Atlantic Records-owned ATCO.  Stills said, "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it."
Ertegun obviously did, for Buffalo Springfield recorded the song December 5 at Gold Star Recording Studio in Hollywood, California.  The group did a pretty quick turnaround in producing it, and released the single January 9, 1967.  
"For What It's Worth" only peaked at #7 for 2 weeks, a very low peak for songs in this range.  But as we have explained, many factors go into chart rankings, some very important factors do not, and songs can move in and out of favor over time.  One thing the song has going for it--strong competition, in the form of "Groovin'" by the Young Rascals, "Penny Lane" from the Beatles, "I'm A Believer" by the Monkees, "Happy Together" by the Turtles, "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys, "Ruby Tuesday" from the Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin's "Respect", just to name a few.
"For What It's Worth" has helped sell 14 million albums, and has topped three million in radio airplay.  Those are excellent numbers, but not the type of numbers that warrant the song's placement in the top 50 or 100, as in some less professional and more subjective rankings you may have seen.

Everyday People
 Sly & The Family Stone

"Great song and great band."
"Funk classic."
"An awesome classic gem."
"This song inspires us!  Great message."
"Timeless message--love it!"
"Great song!"
"A song from a different era that is still relevant today."
"Breathtaking song."

We are up to one of 27 songs from the year 1969, which is six more than any other year in the Rock Era. 
Sly & the Family Stone was one of the first and to this day one of the most successful racially integrated groups.  In the turbulent '60s, Sly Stone wrote this all-time classic as a plea for peace and equality between the races and difference social groups. 
A key section of the song features Sly's sister Rose Stone, who mocks the futility of people hating each other for being tall, short, fat, skinny, white, black, or anything else.  "Everyday People" contains the line "different strokes for different folks", which became a popular catchphrase and later inspired the name of the television series Diff'rent Strokes.  When Sly, Rosie, bassist Larry Graham, and Sly's brother Freddie sing "I am everyday people", the meaning is that each of them, and each listener as well, should consider himself or herself as parts of one whole, not of the smaller, specialized factions that the media and others like to refer to them as.  
Graham not only has an awesome bass voice, but played a slap bass technique on the song, which later became a staple of funk music.  To achieve it, Graham plucked a string with his thumb so that the string collided with the frets, producing a metallic "clunk" at the beginning of the note.  Billy Preston played organ on the song.
Sly & the Family Stone recorded the song for their album Stand!  In its time on the chart, "Everyday People" faced classics such as "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" by the Beatles, "Aquarius" from the 5th Dimension, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye, "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Time Of The Season" by the Zombies, "You've Made Me So Very Happy" by Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Love Child" by the Supremes, "Crimson And Clover" by Tommy James & the Shondells, "Traces" from the Classics IV, and "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe. 
"Everyday People" vaulted to #1 for 4 weeks, and posted 9 weeks in the Top 10 on the Popular chart, and achieved 2 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. 
The song sold over one million singles, helped sell over six million albums, and has garnered over two million in radio airplay.  
Artists such as the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, the Staple Singers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Pearl Jam are among the artists who have covered the song.

Greatest Love Of All 
Whitney Houston

"What a great masterpiece."
"What a voice...OMG!"
"Great song!"

"The Greatest Love of All" is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation and dignity.  Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it's not too late to better ourselves."

"Wonderful song."

"That voice is just awesome!"

"Chills all over me listening to that song. One of my favorites."

Michael Masser and Linda Creed teamed up to write this song, first recorded by George Benson for the movie The Greatest, starring Muhammad Ali.  Creed wrote the lyrics while undergoing a fight with breast cancer.

Whitney Houston recorded it for her debut album, released in February of 1985 on Arista Records.  Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records, originally did not favor Whitney recording the song, but relented after persuasion from Houston and Masser.

"Greatest Love Of All" was released as the B-side to the single "You Give Good Love", but strong radio play forced Arista to release "Greatest Love Of All" as the third single from the album.  Creed lost her battle with cancer at age 37 on April 10, 1986 at the time when Houston's version of "Greatest Love Of All" was climbing the charts.
During the song's chart run, it encountered competition from "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood, Houston's own "How Will I Know", "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends, and Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach".  Great songs all, but not enough of them to consider the competition anything but average.
"Greatest Love Of All" reached #1 for 3 weeks on the Popular chart and #1 for 5 weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #3 on the R&B chart.  That adds up to a lot of listeners and fans using anyone's math.  The song also raced to #1 in Canada and Australia, #4 in Ireland and #8 in the U.K.
"Greatest Love Of All" was also a big award-winner: Billboard Awards for Top Black Album, Top Pop Album, Top Black Album Artist, Top Pop Album Artist--Female, Top Pop Artist (Combined), Top New Pop Artist and Top New Black Artist (Combined), American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Vocalist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Video Single, and a People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Musical Performer. 
 Houston was also nominated at the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Album of the Year, for Billboard Awards for Top Pop Singles Artist, Top Pop Single Singles Artist-Female, Top Adult Contemporary Artist, Top Hot Crossover Artist, and for American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Video Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Video Artist. 
The song re-entered the best-seller charts when Houston died on February 11, 2012.  To date, "Greatest Love Of All" has sold over one million singles and helped sell over 18 million albums in the United States alone. 

Creed also wrote "Rubberband Man" by the Spinners, "Betcha' By Golly, Wow", "You Make Me Feel Brand New", "I'm Stone In Love With You", "You Are Everything" and "Break Up To Make Up" for the Stylistics, and "Hold Me" by Houston & Teddy Pendergrass.  Creed was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Too Much Heaven 
 Bee Gees

"One of my favorite songs of all-time."

"Beautiful song."

"Such an amazing, classic song..."

"Love this song."

"Awesome song."

"Natural harmonies like this are impossible to find."

"Amazing song by an incredible group.  The Bee can't go wrong there."

"Everlasting song--love it!"

Here's one of five songs that the Brothers Gibb place in The Top 500*, in addition to writing numerous others that are in the elite list.   
Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb wrote "Too Much Heaven".  They also managed to write the #1 song "Tragedy", as well as another #1, "Shadow Dancing" for brother Andy, that same day.  All in a day's work for geniuses, we suppose! 

The Bee Gees recorded the song at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida.  The trio spent a good deal of time working on the song, creating nine layers of three-part harmony, or a total of 27 voices.  From studio records, here is the recording sequence of the complex vocals you hear on Song #143*:
  • Barry on falsetto lead three times
  • falsetto high harmony three times
  • falsetto low harmony three times
  • Barry on natural voice lead three times
  • high harmony three times
  • low harmony three times
  • Barry, Robin and Maurice together on lead three times
  • high harmony three times
  • low harmony three times
"Too Much Heaven" features the famous horn section of Chicago (James Pankow, Walt Parazaider and Lee Loughnane).  The Bee Gees gave proceeds from "Too Much Heaven" to the Music for UNICEF' fund to celebrate the International Year of the Child, and performed the song at the Music for UNICEF Concert on January 9, 1979.  The Bee Gees were invited to the White House in the United States, where President Jimmy Carter thanked them for their donation.  "Too Much Heaven" was later included on their album Spirits Having Flown.
The song debuted in November, 1978, being played alongside classics such as "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" from Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, Billy Joel's "My Life", "Kiss You All Over" from Exile, "Le Freak" by Chic, "Reunited" from Peaches & Herb, "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by Olivia Newton-John, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart, "Reminiscing" from the Little River Band, and "What A Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers--not too shabby. 
"Too Much Heaven" was the fourth #1 in a row for the group, just one shy of the Rock Era record by the Supremes.  You might read elsewhere that the Beatles had six #1's in a row--this is not true.  Those people are obviously talking about the period from late 1964 to early 1965, in which the Beatles did achieve six #1 singles in a row.  But the flip sides to those singles charted also ("She's A Woman" at #4, "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" at #39, "Yes It Is" at #46 and "Act Naturally" at #47).  If those B-sides count towards the number of hits, Top 10's and #1 songs that the Beatles or any other artist have, as they do, then one can not turn around and also say that the Beatles had six #1 songs in a row--the correct way to phrase it is as we did above, they had six #1 singles in a row. 
"Too Much Heaven" flew to #1 for 2 weeks, with another four weeks at the #2 position.  All told, it racked up 9 weeks in the Top 10, and also made it to #4 on the Adult chart and #10 on the R&B chart.  The song also topped charts in Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and reached #2 in Ireland, France and the Netherlands, #3 in the U.K., #4 in Finland, and #10 in Germany.

"Too Much Heaven" sold over two million singles, helped sell five million albums, and has achieved three million in radio airplay.  Sales of "Too Much Heaven" contributed over $7 million to UNICEF.

Mariah Carey

 "Love this song!"

"This song is awesome."
"Lovely voice, amazing song."
"My jam right here."
"This song just gets my heart pumping--love it!"
"This is a perfect song."
"I will always love this song."
"OMG This song is so beautiful."

Carey wrote this with Dave Hall; it served as her controversial transition into urban music and the hip-hop market.
Mariah recorded "Fantasy" in December of 1994.  The song heavily samples "Genius Of Love" by the Tom Tom Club.  After Mariah began writing songs for her new album Daydream, she decided to include the hook from the song, as she told Fred Bronson for his book The Billboard Book of Number One Hits:

I was listening to the radio and heard Genius Of Love", and I hadn't heard it in a long time.  It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for "Fantasy."  I initially told Dave about the idea, and we did it.  We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it.

For his part, guitarist Adrian Belew, who co-wrote "Genius Of Love", was quite happy with how the project turned out, as he told The Celebrity Café:

You know, the music business is a funny ol' business.  I didn't even know I was on that record until a fan at a Crimson concert asked me to autograph it.  As it turns out, my playing was sampled from the song "Genius of Love," which I co-wrote with the Tom Tom Club in 1981.  In fact, I've never met Mariah Carey; but I love the money she sends.

Carey released the single September 12, 1995, and during its chart run in the ensuing months faced competition from "Waterfalls" by TLC, "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal, "One Sweet Day" from Carey & Boyz II Men, and "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio.
"Fantasy" became the second song in Billboard history (after "You Are Not Alone" by Michael Jackson) and the first by a female to debut at #1.  Of course as competition has steadily decreased, this feat has become commonplace.  It was Carey's ninth #1 of her career, going to #1 for 9 weeks on the Popular chart and posting 16 weeks in the Top 10.  "Fantasy" also reached #1 for 6 weeks on the R&B chart and peaked at #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The song also topped the Canadian chart for 12 weeks, which tied for the most all-time.  That mark was overtaken in 1997 by "Candle In The Wind '97" with 14 weeks at #1.  "Fantasy" also reached  #1 in Australia and New Zealand, #2 in Finland, #4 in the U.K., #5 in France and Denmark, and #10 in the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.
"Fantasy" helped Carey win American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R & B Female Artist, a World Music Diamond Award and Special Achievement Award, and a Soul Train Award for Career Achievement.
"Fantasy" was the second-best-selling single of 1995.  To date, it has sold 2 million copies and helped sell over 16 million albums in the United States alone.  The song continues to fall in ranking as airplay of the song has dropped precipitously after millions of Carey fans were alienated by her conversion to hip-hop music.  While other Top 500 Songs* continue to add strong airplay numbers over the years, "Fantasy" is still stuck at one million, a very low number for this range.

Waiting For A Girl Like You 

"Why 1981 was an excellent year for awesome music."
"One of the greatest love songs ever written."
"This is one of those songs that only comes once in a century."
"Love this song!"
"Awesome song!"
"Perfect song!"
"One of the best songs ever."

From the beginning we first heard Foreigner, we knew they could rock with the best of them, and they went on to become one of The Top Rock & Roll Bands of the Rock Era*.  But this ballad in 1981 proved they could slow it down as well, and do a fine job.

Lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones wrote "Waiting For A Girl Like You".  Gramm talked about the song: 

 I literally had no control over, it just came out.  I had no idea what it meant, but it got to the point where I couldn't even be in the studio when we were recording it sometimes, it left such a deep impression on me.  But it ended up being a song that brought a lot of people together.  I hear these days that it's a song that a lot of people play at their weddings.  It's the kind of song that the pen does the writing, and you don't even know where it came from. But I feel that it's stuff that's floating around at times and you have to grasp it - it's kind of flying around in the air, and you just have to be open enough to let that flow through you. Sometimes it's sort of mystical where these ideas come from.  Sometimes you have an idea about a song, or you have a title that you base the rest of the song on, but sometimes it comes just literally from an unknown area.  You'll be thinking about something completely different, and suddenly you get that inspiration.  I usually know when it's happening, and I just let it flow and try not to interfere with it - just try and deliver what that thought, those feelings, mean.

In his autobiography, Gramm tells the story of a beautiful, mysterious woman who appeared in the control room when he was recording his vocal to the song, and she gave him the inspiration to deliver the amazing performance.  He writes that this beauty vanished, and he has never found out who she was.  Isn't that the way it is?
Thomas Dolby played synthesizer on the track; Dolby would go on to score his own hit two years later called "She Blinded Me With Science".  Producer Robert "Mutt" Lange brought Dolby into the project after hearing a demo tape; he later sang backing vocals on Dolby's hit.

"Waiting For A Girl Like You" began its ascent up the charts in October of 1981, when it encountered classics such as "Endless Love" by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie, "I Love Rock & Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, "Open Arms", "Don't Stop Believing", and "Who's Crying Now" by Journey, "I Can't Go For That" by Hall & Oates, Olivia Newton-John's "Physical", "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the Police, and "Arthur's Theme" from Christopher Cross.

"Waiting For A Girl Like You" set a Rock Era record at the time by chalking up 10 weeks at #2 without ever advancing to the #1 position.  It spent an incredible 15 weeks in the Top 10, a high number for that time period.  Very impressive, also, is that a hard rock group could nail down a peak of #5 with one of their songs on the Adult Contemporary chart. 

Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" was the song that kept it out for the majority of that time (9 weeks), then "I Can't Go For That" grabbed the #1 spot away by leapfrogging Foreigner in it's final week at #2.  But "Waiting For A Girl Like You" has the last laugh, as here in 2015, it is ranked higher than either "Physical" (#288*) or "I Can't Go For That" (#304*).  Simply put, "Waiting For A Girl Like You" has continued to sell and receive strong airplay exceeding that of the other two songs.  "Waiting For A Girl Like You" reached #8 in the U.K.

"Waiting For A Girl" helped the album 4 become the biggest of Foreigner's career, taking it to #1 for 10 weeks and making it The #44 Album of the Rock Era*.

Wow!  Kinda' makes you hungry for more, doesn't it?  We will showcase another 10 classics tomorrow, so be sure to join us on Inside The Rock Era!

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